Trey Anastasio Selflessly Kicks Off Beacon Jams Run With Spirited Set & Stunning “Stash” (SHOW REVIEW)

Trey Anastasio kicked off The Beacon Jams, his eight-week livestream residency at New York’s legendary Beacon Theatre, this Friday evening (10/9/20) with a stellar performance consisting of a single two-and-a-half-hour set that featured both electric & acoustic arrangements of a few Phish classics as well as Trey’s solo material, including several live debuts from his latest COVID-19 inspired solo album, Lonely Trip

The Phish front-man, along with his “Classic TAB” lineup of Tony Markellis (bass), Russ Lawton (drums) & Ray Paczkowski (keys), bolstered by the wildly eccentric & entertaining Cyro Baptista (percussion), took to the stage around 8pm (EST) to an eerily empty venue, though a brilliant production decision to have the band face towards the backstage area made for a unique perspective and provided some amazing camera shots for those following along at home via the free Twitch stream. 

The band started off with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek rendition of “Corona”, the song’s first public outing since April 2018, before opening things up with an extended version of the Phish summer-rock anthem “Blaze On” that featured some nice interplay between Paczkowski & Baptista throughout. After humorously acknowledging the litany of fan-generated chat messages that were being displayed on screens within the band’s view, Anastasio led the quintet through the first Lonely Trip debut of the evening with a surprisingly robust version of “I Never Left Home”.

A pair of newer Phish songs, “Soul Planet” & “Shade” were up next, with the latter featuring some beautiful piano accompaniment from regular-Anastasio-musical-collaborator Jeff Tanski (Hands on a Hardbody, Ghosts of the Forest), before giving way to a typically gritty version of the Trey classic “Dark and Down.” 

After two more Lonely Trip debuts, “A Wave of Hope” & “If I Could See the World”, Markellis shook the rafters of the historic venue with his familiar thumping bass-line to the Phish chestnut “Sand” that built to a climactic jam rife with searing licks from Anastasio. 

Up next was one the evening’s musical highlights as Trey welcomed Tanski back out for a stunningly beautiful take on Phish’s iconic “Stash” – the first non-orchestral solo performance since 2010 – that featured a unique guitar & piano arrangement, and was supported by some inventive mouth-and-hand-based percussion from Mr. Baptista.

While the rest of the band took a much-deserved breather, Anastasio donned his acoustic guitar for the fifth Lonely Trip debut of the evening, “When the Words Go Away”, before strapping his trusty Languedoc back on to lead the group through another Sigma Oasis track, “Everything’s Right” which seamlessly segued into the final Lonely Trip selection of the evening, “…And Flew Away”, featuring a spirited outro jam. 

Trey was once again joined by Transki for a gorgeous reading of the gentle acoustic instrumental “The In-law Josie Wales” before the full band returned to cap the evening off with a touching version of “Sunset Days” (dedicated to a pair of Phish fans getting married this weekend) followed by a scorching take on Phish’s arena-rocker “46 Days.”

To call Trey’s latest musical undertaking a “labor of love” would be a tremendous understatement. In addition to the musicians, along with the venue & production staff, undergoing a herculean effort in order to maintain safe & social distancing while putting on an event of this magnitude, Anastasio took great strides to not only ensure these webcasts would be entirely free-of-charge, but to also see to it that all donations generated during these performances will go directly to the Divided Sky Fund, a recent addition to Phish’s charitable organization the Waterwheel Foundation, which focuses on delivering quality care and compassionate treatment for those suffering from addiction. A truly selfless act. 

Trey Anastasio Setlist Beacon Theatre, New York, NY, USA 2020, The Beacon Jams

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2 Responses

  1. “Lawton shook the rafters of the historic venue with his familiar thumping bass-line to the Phish chestnut “Sand” ”

    pretty sure you meant Markellis….

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